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LAIOB Leaves Lasting Impact on Athens

Wednesday, March 18 2020 06:04pm

The Ohio men’s basketball game had just tipped off at the Convocation Center. It was just another mid-week conference game, except it wasn’t. The whistle blew before the first possession had even commenced. Stoppage of play.

It seemed like an unusual night for there to be confetti all over the floor. It wasn’t a long delay — only about a minute — but the standard was set. If the game was against Miami, this would all make sense. However, the game was against Buffalo and it was a snowy Tuesday. But it wasn’t just a normal Tuesday — the Brazilians were here.

Students (156 in all) sponsored by Latin America Institute of Business (LAIOB) came to Athens to grow in leadership through courses in management, project management and business English from some of the best professors in the College of Business. Away from the classroom, however, seemingly every student filled the student section, standing and chanting the entire basketball game.

Ohio started the game on a 16-0 run. For the first time in a while, the Convo was electric. Whether it’s at a basketball game or on campus, their presence is palpable with whoever they interact with.

“There’s a special happiness these students bring each and every day,” says Amy Toth, Assistant Director of Program Operations and Planning. “They stop and take pictures of things that I walk past every day, so seeing the joy they bring to life and all the little things really gives you a lasting impact and breeds a new perspective.”

The goal is for the LAIOB students to be future leaders that will make a lasting impact on Brazil. André Fauri, the CEO of LAIOB, established this partnership with Ohio to pay it forward to the future leaders of Brazil, so that things in Brazil are better for the future generations than they were for him growing up.

“It is a privilege for the Walter Center of Strategic Leadership to host our Brazilian guests and engage with them in new discoveries for advancing international business leadership,” says Tim Reynolds, Executive Director. “Their presence on our campus enhances applied global understanding for us all.”

While the partnership is designed for LAIOB students to come to Athens and take some of what they learned back to Brazil, it’s arguable that the impact they have on others is just as significant.

“They remind me of the joy that there is in life, they are the happiest people I know.” Full of joy, thanks and happiness,” says Toth. “They teach me to never take things for granted and to keep a fresh perspective.”

It’s not just Toth that feels this way. After the basketball game against Buffalo, head coach Jeff Boals came out to midcourt to take pictures with all the LAIOB students and thanked each and every one of them for the energy and atmosphere they created.

Alas, it came time for the LAIOB students to leave and go back to Brazil. The next time LAIOB will bring students to Athens is in July.

As this group left, Toth got a call from the ticket office. It was about the last home game of the season, senior night for the team. “Can we give LAIOB tickets to come back for Friday?” they asked.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t.

More LAIOB photos:

Laiob Ballroom Group

 Laiob Convo Bball

Laiob Convo Bball Small